Browsing by Subject "DOMAIN"

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  • Narhi, A; Fernandes, A; Toiviainen-Salo, S; Harris, J; McInerney-Leo, A; Lazarus, S; Avela, K; Duncan, EL (2021)
    Multicentric carpotarsal osteolysis (MCTO) is an autosomal dominant condition characterized by carpal-tarsal abnormalities; over half of affected individuals also develop renal disease. MCTO is caused by mutations of MAFB; however, there is no clear phenotype-genotype correlation. We describe the first reported family of variable MCTO phenotype due to mosaicism: the proband had classical skeletal features and renal involvement due to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), and the father had profound renal impairment due to FSGS, necessitating kidney transplantation. Mosaicism was first suspected in this family due to unequal allele ratios in the sequencing chromatograph of the initial blood sample of proband's father and confirmed by sequencing DNA extracted from the father's hair, collected from different bodily parts. This case highlights the need for a high index of clinical suspicion to detect low-level parental mosaicism, as well as a potential role for MAFB mutation screening in individuals with isolated FSGS.
  • Karvonen, V.; Harjama, L.; Heliö, Krista; Kettunen, K.; Elomaa, O.; Koskenvuo, J. W.; Kere, J.; Weckström, S.; Holmström, M.; Saarela, J.; Ranki, A.; Heliö, T.; Hannula-Jouppi, K. (2022)
    Background PPKs represent a heterogeneous group of disorders with hyperkeratosis of palmar and/or plantar skin. PPK, hair shaft abnormalities, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias can be caused by mutations in desmosomal genes, e.g. desmoplakin (DSP). PPK should trigger genetic testing to reveal mutations with possible related cardiac disease. Objectives To report a large multigenerational family with a novel DSP mutation associated with early-onset PPK and adult-onset cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias. Methods A custom-designed in-house panel of 35 PPK related genes was used to screen mutations in the index patient with focal PPK. The identified DSP mutation was verified by Sanger sequencing. DNA samples from 20 members of the large multigenerational family were sequenced for the DSP mutation. Medical records were reviewed. Clinical dermatological evaluation was performed, including light microscopy of hair samples. Cardiac evaluation included clinical examination, echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR), electrocardiogram (ECG), Holter monitoring and laboratory tests. Results We identified a novel autosomal dominant truncating DSP c.2493delA p.(Glu831Aspfs*33) mutation associated with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) with arrhythmia susceptibility and focal PPK as an early cutaneous sign. The mutation was found in nine affected family members, but not in any unaffected members. Onset of dermatological findings preceded cardiac symptoms which were variable and occurred at adult age. Conclusions We report a novel truncating DSP mutation causing focal PPK with varying severity and left ventricular dilatation and ventricular extrasystoles. This finding emphasizes the importance of genetic diagnosis in patients with PPK for clinical counselling and management of cardiomyopathies and arrhythmias.
  • Rossi, Daniela; Palmio, Johanna; Evila, Anni; Galli, Lucia; Barone, Virginia; Caldwell, Tracy A.; Policke, Rachel A.; Aldkheil, Esraa; Berndsen, Christopher E.; Wright, Nathan T.; Malfatti, Edoardo; Brochier, Guy; Pierantozzi, Enrico; Jordanova, Albena; Guergueltcheva, Velina; Romero, Norma Beatriz; Hackman, Peter; Eymard, Bruno; Udd, Bjarne; Sorrentino, Vincenzo (2017)
    A novel FLNC c.5161delG (p.Gly1722ValfsTer61) mutation was identified in two members of a French family affected by distal myopathy and in one healthy relative. This FLNC c.5161delG mutation is one nucleotide away from a previously reported FLNC mutation (c.5160delC) that was identified in patients and in asymptomatic carriers of three Bulgarian families with distal muscular dystrophy, indicating a low penetrance of the FLNC frameshift mutations. Given these similarities, we believe that the two FLNC mutations alone can be causative of distal myopathy without full penetrance. Moreover, comparative analysis of the clinical manifestations indicates that patients of the French family show an earlier onset and a complete segregation of the disease. As a possible explanation of this, the two French patients also carry a OBSCN c.13330C>T (p.Arg4444Trp) mutation. The p.Arg4444Trp variant is localized within the OBSCN Ig59 domain that, together with Ig58, binds to the ZIg9/ZIg10 domains of titin at Z-disks. Structural and functional studies indicate that this OBSCN p.Arg4444Trp mutation decreases titin binding by similar to 15-fold. On this line, we suggest that the combination of the OBSCN p.Arg4444Trp variant and of the FLNC c.5161delG mutation, can cooperatively affect myofibril stability and increase the penetrance of muscular dystrophy in the French family.
  • Wondimu, Zenebech; Omrani, Shahin; Ishikawa, Taichi; Javed, Fawad; Oikawa, Yuko; Virtanen, Ismo; Juronen, Erkki; Ingerpuu, Sulev; Patarroyo, Manuel (2013)
  • Kroger, Liisa; Löppönen, Tuija; Ala-Kokko, Leena; Kröger, Heikki; Jauhonen, Hanna-Mari; Lehti, Kaisa; Jaaskelainen, Jarmo (2019)
    Background MONA, which stands for a spectrum of Multicentric Osteolysis, subcutaneous Nodulosis, and Athropathia, is an ultra rare autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the matrix metallopeptidase 2 (MMP2) gene. To date only 44 individuals, carrying 22 different mutations have been reported. Here we report on two brothers with identical homozygous MMP2 gene mutations, but with clearly different phenotypes. Methods Genomic DNA was isolated from the affected brothers and the parents. An iliac crest bone biopsy was taken from the younger patient (index case). The level of matrix metallopeptidase 2 enzyme (MMP2) in serum and synovial fluid of the younger patient was analyzed using gelatin zymography. Results The DNA analysis revealed a homozygous c.1188C>A transversion on exon 8 of the gene. The affected brothers had the same homozygous variant and the parents were heterozygous to this variant. This variant has been reported as a compound heterozygous mutation on one individual resulting in scleroderma like skin thickening. Bone histomorphometry indicated increased trabecular bone remodeling and turnover. The zymography revealed that the level of MMP2 was completely nonmeasurable in the serum and only a minor gelatinolytic protein band of about similar molecular weight as MMP2 was found in the synovial fluid. Conclusions Both the age at the onset and the phenotypic severity of the syndrome in these two brothers were different despite identical genotypes. The younger patients had corneal opacities leading to deteriorating visual acuity. For the first time in this disease, opacities were successfully treated with corneal transplantations.
  • Savarese, Marco; Palmio, Johanna; Poza, Juan Jose; Weinberg, Jan; Olive, Montse; Cobo, Ana Maria; Vihola, Anna; Jonson, Per Harald; Sarparanta, Jaakko; Garcia-Bragado, Federico; Urtizberea, Jon Andoni; Hackman, Peter; Udd, Bjarne (2019)
    Objective To clinically and pathologically characterize a cohort of patients presenting with a novel form of distal myopathy and to identify the genetic cause of this new muscular dystrophy. Methods We studied 4 families (3 from Spain and 1 from Sweden) suffering from an autosomal dominant distal myopathy. Affected members showed adult onset asymmetric distal muscle weakness with initial involvement of ankle dorsiflexion later progressing also to proximal limb muscles. Results In all 3 Spanish families, we identified a unique missense variant in the ACTN2 gene cosegregating with the disease. The affected members of the Swedish family carry a different ACTN2 missense variant. Interpretation ACTN2 encodes for alpha actinin2, which is highly expressed in the sarcomeric Z-disk with a major structural and functional role. Actininopathy is thus a new genetically determined distal myopathy. ANN NEUROL 2019;85:899-906.
  • Stepanenko, Olesya V.; Baloban, Mikhail; Bublikov, Grigory S.; Shcherbakova, Daria M.; Stepanenko, Olga V.; Turoverov, Konstantin K.; Kuznetsova, Irina M.; Verkhusha, Vladislav Vitaliyevich (2016)
    Fluorescent proteins (FPs) engineered from bacterial phytochromes attract attention as probes for in vivo imaging due to their near-infrared (NIR) spectra and use of available in mammalian cells biliverdin (BV) as chromophore. We studied spectral properties of the iRFP670, iRFP682 and iRFP713 proteins and their mutants having Cys residues able to bind BV either in both PAS (Cys15) and GAF (Cys256) domains, in one of these domains, or without these Cys residues. We show that the absorption and fluorescence spectra and the chromophore binding depend on the location of the Cys residues. Compared with NIR FPs in which BV covalently binds to Cys15 or those that incorporate BV noncovalently, the proteins with BV covalently bound to Cys256 have blue-shifted spectra and higher quantum yield. In dimeric NIR FPs without Cys15, the covalent binding of BV to Cys256 in one monomer allosterically inhibits the covalent binding of BV to the other monomer, whereas the presence of Cys15 allosterically promotes BV binding to Cys256 in both monomers. The NIR FPs with both Cys residues have the narrowest blue-shifted spectra and the highest quantum yield. Our analysis resulted in the iRFP713/Val256Cys protein with the highest brightness in mammalian cells among available NIR FPs.
  • Hematy, Kian; De Bellis, Damien; Wang, Xin; Mähönen, Ari Pekka; Geldner, Niko (2022)
    The exocyst is the main plasma membrane vesicle-tethering complex in eukaryotes and is composed of eight different subunits. Yet, in plant genomes, many subunits display multiple copies, thought to reflect evolution of complex subtypes with divergent functions. In Arabidopsis thaliana root endodermal cells, the isoform EXO70A1 is required for positioning of CASP1 at the Casparian Strip Domain, but not for its non-targeted secretion to the plasma membrane. Here, we show that exo84b resembles exo70a1 mutants regarding CASP1 mistargeting and secretion of apoplastic proteins, but exo84b additionally affects secretion of other integral plasma membrane proteins. Moreover, conditional, cell-type-specific gene editing of the single-copy core component SEC6 allows visualization of secretion defects in plant cells with a complete lack of exocyst complex function. Our approach opens avenues for deciphering the complexity/diversity of exocyst functions in plant cells and enables analysis of central trafficking components with lethal phenotypes. Genetic analysis of exocyst isoforms reveals their distinct roles in cargo secretion.
  • Jantti, Maria H.; Talman, Virpi; Räsänen, Kati; Tarvainen, Ilari; Koistinen, Hannu; Tuominen, Raimo K. (2018)
    Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. Although it has a relatively high 5-year survival rate, development of resistance to standard androgen-deprivation therapy is a significant clinical problem. Therefore, novel therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. The protein kinase C (PKC) family is a putative prostate cancer drug target, but so far no PKC-targeting drugs are available for clinical use. By contrast to the standard approach of developing PKC inhibitors, we have developed isophthalate derivatives as PKC agonists. In this study, we have characterized the effects of the most potent isophthalate, 5-(hydroxymethyl) isophthalate 1a3 (HMI-1a3), on three prostate cancer cell lines (LNCaP, DU145, and PC3) using both 2D and 3D cell culture models. In 2D cell culture, HMI-1a3 reduced cell viability or proliferation in all cell lines as determined by the metabolic activity of the cells (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide assay) and thymidine incorporation. However, the mechanism of action in LNCaP cells was different to that in DU145 or PC3 cells. In LNCaP cells, HMI-1a3 induced a PKC-dependent activation of caspase 3/7, indicating an apoptotic response, whereas in DU145 and PC3 cells, it induced senescence, which was independent of PKC. This was observed as typical senescent morphology, increased beta-galactosidase activity, and upregulation of the senescence marker p21 and downregulation of E2F transcription factor 1. Using a multicellular spheroid model, we further showed that HMI-1a3 affects the growth of LNCaP and DU145 cells in a 3D culture, emphasizing its potential as a lead compound for cancer drug development.
  • Swarnalok, De; Pollari, Maija; Varjosalo, Markku; Mäkinen, Kristiina (2020)
    In this study, we investigated the significance of a conserved five-amino acid motif 'AELPR' in the C-terminal region of helper component-proteinase (HCPro) for potato virus A (PVA; genusPotyvirus) infection. This motif is a putative interaction site for WD40 domain-containing proteins, including VARICOSE (VCS). We abolished the interaction site in HCPro by replacing glutamic acid (E) and arginine (R) with alanines (A) to generate HCPro(WD). These mutations partially eliminated HCPro-VCS co-localization in cells. We have earlier described potyvirus-induced RNA granules (PGs) in which HCPro and VCS co-localize and proposed that they have a role in RNA silencing suppression. We now demonstrate that the ability of HCPro(WD)to induce PGs, introduce VCS into PGs, and suppress RNA silencing was impaired. Accordingly, PVA carrying HCPro(WD)(PVA(WD)) infectedNicotiana benthamianaless efficiently than wild-type PVA (PVA(WT)) and HCPro(WD)complemented the lack of HCPro in PVA gene expression only partially. HCPro was purified from PVA-infected leaves as part of high molecular weight (HMW) ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes. These complexes were more stable when associated with wild-type HCPro than with HCPro(WD). Moreover, VCS and two viral components of the HMW-complexes, viral protein genome-linked and cylindrical inclusion protein were specifically decreased in HCPro(WD)-containing HMW-complexes. A boost in translation of replication-deficient PVA (PVA(Delta GDD)) was observed only if viral RNA expressed wild-type HCPro. The role of VCS-VPg-HCPro coordination in PVA translation was further supported by results from VCS silencing and overexpression experiments and by significantly elevated PVA-derivedRenillaluciferase vs PVA RNA ratio upon VPg-VCS co-expression. Finally, we found that PVA(WD)was unable to form virus particles or to spread systemically in the infected plant. We highlight the role of HCPro-VCS containing multi-protein assemblies associated with PVA RNA in protecting it from degradation, ensuring efficient translation, formation of stable virions and establishment of systemic infection. Author summary This study revealed that the potyviral helper component proteinase (HCPro) and the host protein VARICOSE (VCS) are linked in a manner that is important for suppression of RNA silencing, formation of potyvirus-induced RNA granules, translation of viral proteins, stability of virions, and development of systemic potato virus A (PVA) infection. The results suggest that HCPro and VCS belong to the core components of large RNP complexes regulating PVA infection. We suggest that these complexes protect viral RNAs in the cytoplasm after release from the replication complex and direct them to translation and intact to the viral particles.
  • Vuorio, Joni; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Martinez-Seara, Hector (2017)
    Hyaluronan is a polyanionic, megadalton-scale polysaccharide, which initiates cell signaling by interacting with several receptor proteins including CD44 involved in cell-cell interactions and cell adhesion. Previous studies of the CD44 hyaluronan binding domain have identified multiple widespread residues to be responsible for its recognition capacity. In contrast, the X-ray structural characterization of CD44 has revealed a single binding mode associated with interactions that involve just a fraction of these residues. In this study, we show through atomistic molecular dynamics simulations that hyaluronan can bind CD44 with three topographically different binding modes that in unison define an interaction fingerprint, thus providing a plausible explanation for the disagreement between the earlier studies. Our results confirm that the known crystallographic mode is the strongest of the three binding modes. The other two modes represent metastable configurations that are readily available in the initial stages of the binding, and they are also the most frequently observed modes in our unbiased simulations. We further discuss how CD44, fostered by the weaker binding modes, diffuses along HA when attached. This 1D diffusion combined with the constrained relative orientation of the diffusing proteins is likely to influence the aggregation kinetics of CD44. Importantly, CD44 aggregation has been suggested to be a possible mechanism in CD44-mediated signaling.
  • Martin, Isabel M.; Nava, Michele M.; Wickström, Sara A.; Graeter, Frauke (2022)
    Focal adhesions link the actomyosin cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix regulating cell adhesion, shape, and migration. Adhesions are dynamically assembled and disassembled in response to extrinsic and intrinsic forces, but how the essential adhesion component integrin-linked kinase (ILK) dynamically responds to mechanical force and what role adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bound to this pseudokinase plays remain elusive. Here, we apply force-probe molecular-dynamics simulations of human ILK:alpha-parvin coupled to traction force microscopy to explore ILK mechanotransducing functions. We identify two key salt-bridge-forming arginines within the allosteric, ATP-dependent force-propagation network of ILK. Disrupting this network by mutation impedes parvin binding, focal adhesion stabilization, force generation, and thus migration. Under tension, ATP shifts the balance from rupture of the complex to protein unfolding, indicating that ATP increases the force threshold required for focal adhesion disassembly. Our study proposes a role of ATP as an obligatory binding partner for structural and mechanical integrity of the pseudokinase ILK, ensuring efficient cellular force generation and migration.
  • Ain, Noor ul; Mäkitie, Outi; Naz, Sadaf (2018)
    Background Heterozygous mutations in COL10A1 underlie metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, Schmid type (MCDS), an autosomal dominant skeletal dysplasia. Objective To identify the causative variant in a large consanguineous Pakistani family with severe skeletal dysplasia and marked lower limb deformity. Methods Whole exome sequencing was completed followed by Sanger sequencing to verify segregation of the identified variants. In silico variant pathogenicity predictions and amino acid conservation analyses were performed. Results A homozygous c. 133 C>T (p.Pro45Ser) variant was identified in COL10A1 in all six severely affected individuals (adult heights 119-130 cm, mean similar to -6.33 SD). The individuals heterozygous for the variant had mild phenotype of short stature (adult heights 140-162 cm, mean similar to -2.15 SD) but no apparent skeletal deformities. The variant was predicted to be pathogenic by in silico prediction tools and was absent from public databases and hundred control chromosomes. Pro45 is conserved in orthologues and is located in the non-collagenous 2 domain of COL10A1, variants of which have never been associated with skeletal dysplasia. Conclusions This first report of individuals with a homozygous variant in COL10A1 defines a new type of autosomal recessive skeletal dysplasia. The observations in COL10A1 variant carriers suggest a phenotypic overlap between the mildest forms of MCDS and idiopathic short stature.
  • Leopold, Anna; Pletnev, Sergei; Verkhusha, Vladislav V. (2020)
    Optically controlled receptor tyrosine kinases (opto-RTKs) allow regulation of RTK signaling using light. Until recently, the majority of opto-RTKs were activated with blue-green light. Fusing a photosensory core module of Deinococcus radiodurans bacterial phytochrome (DrBphP-PCM) to the kinase domains of neurotrophin receptors resulted in opto-RTKs controlled with light above 650 nm. To expand this engineering approach to RTKs of other families, here we combined the DrBpP-PCM with the cytoplasmic domains of EGFR and FGFR1. The resultant Dr-EGFR and Dr-FGFR1 opto-RTKs are rapidly activated with near-infrared and inactivated with far-red light. The opto-RTKs efficiently trigger ERK1/2, PI3K/Akt, and PLC gamma signaling. Absence of spectral crosstalk between the opto-RTKs and green fluorescent protein-based biosensors enables simultaneous Dr-FGFR1 activation and detection of calcium transients. Action mechanism of the DrBphP-PCM-based opto-RTKs is considered using the available RTK structures. DrBphP-PCM represents a versatile scaffold for engineering of opto-RTKs that are reversibly regulated with far-red and near-infrared light. (C) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Jolma, Arttu; Zhang, Jilin; Mondragon, Estefania; Morgunova, Ekaterina; Kivioja, Teemu; Laverty, Kaitlin U.; Yin, Yimeng; Zhu, Fangjie; Bourenkov, Gleb; Morris, Quaid; Hughes, Timothy R.; Maher III, Louis James; Taipale, Jussi (2020)
    RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) regulate RNA metabolism at multiple levels by affecting splicing of nascent transcripts, RNA folding, base modification, transport, localization, translation, and stability. Despite their central role in RNA function, the RNA-binding specificities of most RBPs remain unknown or incompletely defined. To address this, we have assembled a genome-scale collection of RBPs and their RNA-binding domains (RBDs) and assessed their specificities using high-through-put RNA-SELEX (HTR-SELEX). Approximately 70% of RBPs for which we obtained a motif bound to short linear sequenc-es, whereas similar to 30% preferred structured motifs folding into stem-loops. We also found that many RBPs can bind to multiple distinctly different motifs. Analysis of the matches of the motifs in human genomic sequences suggested novel roles for many RBPs. We found that three cytoplasmic proteins-ZC3H12A, ZC3H12B, and ZC3H12C-bound to motifs resembling the splice donor sequence, suggesting that these proteins are involved in degradation of cytoplasmic viral and/or unspliced transcripts. Structural analysis revealed that the RNA motif was not bound by the conventional C3H1 RNA-binding domain of ZC3H12B. Instead, the RNA motif was bound by the ZC3H12B's PilT N terminus (PIN) RNase domain, revealing a po-tential mechanism by which unconventional RBDs containing active sites or molecule-binding pockets could interact with short, structured RNA molecules. Our collection containing 145 high-resolution binding specificity models for 86 RBPs is the largest systematic resource for the analysis of human RBPs and will greatly facilitate future analysis of the various bi-ological roles of this important class of proteins.
  • Kokate, Shrikant B.; Ciuba, Katarzyna; Tran, Vivien D.; Kumari, Reena; Tojkander, Sari; Engel, Ulrike; Kogan, Konstantin; Kumar, Sanjay; Lappalainen, Pekka (2022)
    In this study the authors report that Caldesmon controls force-balance and architecture of stress fibers through dynamic cross-linking of actin and myosin filaments. Caldesmon depletion led to consequent problems in cell morphogenesis, motility and mechanosensing. Contractile actomyosin bundles are key force-producing and mechanosensing elements in muscle and non-muscle tissues. Whereas the organization of muscle myofibrils and mechanism regulating their contractility are relatively well-established, the principles by which myosin-II activity and force-balance are regulated in non-muscle cells have remained elusive. We show that Caldesmon, an important component of smooth muscle and non-muscle cell actomyosin bundles, is an elongated protein that functions as a dynamic cross-linker between myosin-II and tropomyosin-actin filaments. Depletion of Caldesmon results in aberrant lateral movement of myosin-II filaments along actin bundles, leading to irregular myosin distribution within stress fibers. This manifests as defects in stress fiber network organization and contractility, and accompanied problems in cell morphogenesis, migration, invasion, and mechanosensing. These results identify Caldesmon as critical factor that ensures regular myosin-II spacing within non-muscle cell actomyosin bundles, and reveal how stress fiber networks are controlled through dynamic cross-linking of tropomyosin-actin and myosin filaments.
  • Lubbers, Ronnie J. M.; Dilokpimol, Adiphol; Navarro, Jorge; Peng, Mao; Wang, Mei; Lipzen, Anna; Ng, Vivian; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Visser, Jaap; Hildén, Kristiina S.; de Vries, Ronald P. (2019)
    Cinnamic acid is an aromatic compound commonly found in plants and functions as a central intermediate in lignin synthesis. Filamentous fungi are able to degrade cinnamic acid through multiple metabolic pathways. One of the best studied pathways is the non-oxidative decarboxylation of cinnamic acid to styrene. In Aspergillus niger, the enzymes cinnamic acid decarboxylase (CdcA, formally ferulic acid decarboxylase) and the flavin prenyltransferase (PadA) catalyze together the non-oxidative decarboxylation of cinnamic acid and sorbic acid. The corresponding genes, cdcA and padA, are clustered in the genome together with a putative transcription factor previously named sorbic acid decarboxylase regulator (SdrA). While SdrA was predicted to be involved in the regulation of the non-oxidative decarboxylation of cinnamic acid and sorbic acid, this was never functionally analyzed. In this study, A. niger deletion mutants of sdrA, cdcA, and padA were made to further investigate the role of SdrA in cinnamic acid metabolism. Phenotypic analysis revealed that cdcA, sdrA and padA are exclusively involved in the degradation of cinnamic acid and sorbic acid and not required for other related aromatic compounds. Whole genome transcriptome analysis of ΔsdrA grown on different cinnamic acid related compounds, revealed additional target genes, which were also clustered with cdcA, sdrA, and padA in the A. niger genome. Synteny analysis using 30 Aspergillus genomes demonstrated a conserved cinnamic acid decarboxylation gene cluster in most Aspergilli of the Nigri clade. Aspergilli lacking certain genes in the cluster were unable to grow on cinnamic acid, but could still grow on related aromatic compounds, confirming the specific role of these three genes for cinnamic acid metabolism of A. niger.
  • Nowakowska, Maria; Selby, Katja; Przykopanski, Adina; Krüger, Maren; Krez, Nadja; Dorner, Brigitte G.; Dorner, Martin B.; Jin, Rongsheng; Minton, Nigel P.; Rummel, Andreas; Lindström, Miia (2022)
    Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), produced by the spore-forming bacterium Clostridium botulinum, cause botulism, a rare but fatal illness affecting humans and animals. Despite causing a life-threatening disease, BoNT is a multipurpose therapeutic. Nevertheless, as the most potent natural toxin, BoNT is classified as a Select Agent in the US, placing C. botulinum research under stringent governmental regulations. The extreme toxicity of BoNT, its impact on public safety, and its diverse therapeutic applications urge to devise safe solutions to expand C. botulinum research. Accordingly, we exploited CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing to introduce inactivating point mutations into chromosomal bont/e gene of C. botulinum Beluga E. The resulting Beluga Ei strain displays unchanged physiology and produces inactive BoNT (BoNT/Ei) recognized in serological assays, but lacking biological activity detectable ex- and in vivo. Neither native single-chain, nor trypsinized di-chain form of BoNT/Ei show in vivo toxicity, even if isolated from Beluga Ei sub-cultured for 25 generations. Beluga Ei strain constitutes a safe alternative for the BoNT research necessary for public health risk management, the development of food preservation strategies, understanding toxinogenesis, and for structural BoNT studies. The example of Beluga Ei generation serves as template for future development of C. botulinum producing different inactive BoNT serotypes.
  • Guryanov, Sergey; Liljeroos, Lassi Juho Petteri; Kasaragod, Prasad; Kajander, Tommi Antero; Butcher, Sarah Jane (2016)
    ABSTRACT The enveloped negative-stranded RNA virus measles virus (MeV) is an important human pathogen. The nucleoprotein (N0) assembles with the viral RNA into helical ribonucleocapsids (NC) which are, in turn, coated by a helical layer of the matrix protein. The viral polymerase complex uses the NC as its template. The N0 assembly onto the NC and the activity of the polymerase are regulated by the viral phosphoprotein (P). In this study, we pulled down an N0 1-408 fragment lacking most of its C-terminal tail domain by several affinity-tagged, N-terminal P fragments to map the N0-binding region of P to the first 48 amino acids. We showed biochemically and using P mutants the importance of the hydrophobic interactions for the binding. We fused an N0 binding peptide, P1-48, to the C terminus of an N0 21-408 fragment lacking both the N-terminal peptide and the C-terminal tail of N protein to reconstitute and crystallize the N0-P complex. We solved the X-ray structure of the resulting N0-P chimeric protein at a resolution of 2.7 Å. The structure reveals the molecular details of the conserved N0-P interface and explains how P chaperones N0, preventing both self-assembly of N0 and its binding to RNA. Finally, we propose a model for a preinitiation complex for RNA polymerization. IMPORTANCE Measles virus is an important, highly contagious human pathogen. The nucleoprotein (N) binds only to viral genomic RNA and forms the helical ribonucleocapsid that serves as a template for viral replication. We address how N is regulated by another protein, the phosphoprotein (P), to prevent newly synthesized N from binding to cellular RNA. We describe the atomic model of an N-P complex and compare it to helical ribonucleocapsid. We thus provide insight into how P chaperones N and helps to start viral RNA synthesis. Our results provide a new insight into mechanisms of paramyxovirus replication. New data on the mechanisms of phosphoprotein chaperone action allows better understanding of virus genome replication and nucleocapsid assembly. We describe a conserved structural interface for the N-P interaction which could be a target for drug development to treat not only measles but also potentially other paramyxovirus diseases.
  • Karhu, S. Tuuli; Ruskoaho, Heikki; Talman, Virpi (2021)
    Cardiac fibrosis is characterized by accumulation and activation of fibroblasts and excessive production of extracellular matrix, which results in myocardial stiffening and eventually leads to heart failure. Although previous work suggests that protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms play a role in cardiac fibrosis and remodeling, the results are conflicting. Moreover, the potential of targeting PKC with pharmacological tools to inhibit pathologic fibrosis has not been fully evaluated. Here we investigated the effects of selected PKC agonists and inhibitors on cardiac fibroblast (CF) phenotype, proliferation, and gene expression using primary adult mouse CFs, which spontaneously transdifferentiate into myofibroblasts in culture. A 48-hour exposure to the potent PKC activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) at 10 nM concentration reduced the intensity of a-smooth muscle actin staining by 56% and periostin mRNA levels by 60% compared with control. The decreases were inhibited with the pan-PKC inhibitor Gö6983 and the inhibitor of classical PKC isoforms Gö6976, suggesting that classical PKCs regulate CF transdifferentiation. PMA also induced a 33% decrease in 5-bromo-2’-deoxyuridine–positive CFs, which was inhibited with Gö6983 but not with Gö6976, indicating that novel PKC isoforms (nPKCs) regulate CF proliferation. Moreover, PMA downregulated the expression of collagen-encoding genes Col1a1 and Col3a1 nPKC-dependently, showing that PKC activation attenuates matrix synthesis in CFs. The partial PKC agonist isophthalate derivative bis(1-ethylpentyl) 5-(hydroxymethyl)isophthalate induced parallel changes in phenotype, cell cycle activity, and gene expression. In conclusion, our results reveal distinct PKC-dependent regulation of CF transdifferentiation and proliferation and suggest that PKC agonists exhibit potential as an antifibrotic treatment.